The Orion's Arm Universe Project Forums

Transhumanism: How do we know?
(12-07-2014, 05:05 PM)Steel Accord Wrote: I mean, how many other times have people looked into the future and predicted wild technological innovation, only for reality to slap them in the face and had them an iphone?

How do we know our vision of transhuman tech isn't anymore quaint than the fifties thinking the seventies would have flying cars?

Meant to chime in on this thread much earlier and even composed most of this reply but had too much else on the go. Here it is for what it's worth...

The OA project is an entertaining fiction, first and foremost. That applies to the technologies, too. Our rule as a 'hard science fiction' setting (see the link on the front page of the site) is that the technologies should be in the 'not impossible' category, and I believe we've done a good job of that, but it's no prediction. Reasons for this include:

1) 'Not impossible' tech right now doesn't mean it actually is possible. Some people right now think some aspects of OA tech won't work. In a few cases (we don't know which ones) they are right.

2) Possible is not the same as practical.

3) Possible and practical is not the same as widely (or ever) implemented. Some techs are more compatible with what we already have and what people want, and some less so, and some have more support from existing institutions than others.

4) Real-world techs typically develop in a very different order than anybody thought they would, some things lagging well behind and others leaping ahead.

5) People find out ways to combine even the simple, existing technologies that have been available for months, years, or decades in ways that turn out to have a huge impact and amount to a new tech in itself. Since none of us is rushing to the patent office, or running a startup company it's clear we have missed some of those possibilities.

6) Our take on tech development is an optimistic one, with rapid development on several fronts. More probably one or two (or even all) techs will advance more slowly. In fact I can think of several scenarios in which we could slow down or stall out entirely on all tech development fronts. Not all of those are disaster scenarios from the point of view of the people involved. It's just that colonizing the solar system and going on to the stars is not part of them.

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